11th NATO CAX Forum – MSETT

For once more, MSETT was present in the most important Computer Assisted Exercises event, the annual NATO CAX Forum.  The NATO CAX Forum 2016 was held at the Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG) home site in OTTOBRUNN, Germany from Sep 20th to 23rd, organized by the NATO Modelling and Simulation Center of Excellence (NATO M&S CoE) in cooperation with IABG networked business group and the German Armed Forces. The forum was focused on technical  and operating issues related to exercises using simulation as their main working tool. The number of participants in the forum was around 250 people, experts in M&S and CAX issues coming from  35 countries  (including non NATO members also, such as the Partnership for Peace Program, the Mediterranean Dialogue, and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative). A great number of presentations and meeting were held at the Forum. An important number of the presentations was dedicated to theoretical and experimental fields of interest regarding Modelling & Simulation projects that are active in NATO as workshops or working groups, which revealed the importance and attention of NATO in research and development. Another significant set of presentations were related to constructive simulation developers as Rolands & Associates, Artifex, Bohemia Interactive, MASA Group and many others. In those presentations, the participants had the chance to assign the  progress of constructive simulation for providing more realistic and efficient training in addition to technological achievements that produce the tools to meet the needs of the operational staff. Last but not least, there was a specific set of presentations coming either from National Training & Simulation Centers and NATO companies that described how CAX are used for operational training and in which way CAX methodology can be further used and developed in order to support training and operational needs. MSETT was the only company that had two explicit presentation by its Managing Director Col (ret) Konstantinos Tsiakalos, regarding the innovative and cost – time effective framework in which CAX methodology should be used from operational agencies, HQ’s, planners and decision makers. Both presentations were welcomed by the attendees and a number of meetings was arranged for further discussion regarding MSETT’s capabilities and services.


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The first presentation was dedicated to an advanced and efficient use of simulation, describing how the most known simulation models can model characteristics and conditions which will enable CAX Training Audience to achieve a realistic training, avoid negative training and act – react in a virtual reality environment. Characteristics like moral, educational and training level of personnel, leadership and mental – physical features of the military personnel which execute operations are being modeled and simulated under an innovative method and affect the results of operations. On the other hand, conditions like the political status, high level leadership, social and financial environment (and many others) are being taken in serious consideration in constructive simulation databases. During the scenario run in a CAX, those conditions affect local population and military personnel respectively and produce rational or irrational operational environments. MSETT has contrived a new term, the Operational Box, which can be defined as a limited area, part of a major operational area, which is considered as a unique space that all human life activities are simulated through constructive simulation models (or models federations) in order to represent in the most realistic way, military and OTW operations and their effects in the area described and, under given assumptions, to the theater of operations. You can find the whole presentation in advanced-use-of-simultion-in-cax.

The second presentation was about CAX budgeting. Budgeting is a vital issue that in most cases determines the working effort for preparing, organizing and executing a CAX. As there is not a clear and secure method for estimating the cost of a CAX, almost all CAX organizing agencies are not in position to calculate the costs in a way that will provide the whole picture of expenses. MSETT has developed a method which can estimate the costs of a CAX based on its operational and technical requirements, the CAX objectives and architectures and the software – hardware capabilities for supporting the CAX. On the other hand, MSETT proposes a set of actions for reducing the costs of a CAX, using technology and methodological tools for supporting all phases of CAX preparation and organizing in a cost – time effective manner.  This presentation is available in cax-budget-challenges.

The feeling that comes out of the 11th NATO CAX Forum is that constructive simulation needs to offer more services, innovative solutions and use technological progress for supporting operational and tactical training and at last, interoperability  between different simulation models and C2 – C4 systems. As budgeting for supporting MSG’s in NATO is increasing, constructive simulation models developers and companies supporting CAX are not in the plan as they should be, regarding their effort to offer advanced services in operational NATO staff. A huge amount of capital is going to uncertain and some times unrealistic projects, instead of providing funds to those who can really develop the tools that needed for a CAX. Visualization needs are increasing day by day, cyber defense modules have to be embodied to existing simulation models and realistic environments must be simulated efficiently. Only developers in addition to the operational needs can provide such kind of major changes and meet the challenges of present and future exercises. Not very successful experiments of the past, like NTF (NATO Training Federation), proved that developers need to know the objectives and analyse them accordingly for producing immediate and secure results.

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Nations that are not NATO members and followed the Forum are not sharing the idea that CAX can be a methodology that will make the difference in their training capabilities. They need customized solutions and more specified working frames in order to adapt the CAX methodology and import it to their training and operational culture. UAE War Games Team of Al Amaliah, has made an outstanding progress the last five years and produce a technical and operational environment which supports effectively the training needs of UAE military services. It was a pleasure for MSETT Managing Director, Col (ret) Konstantinos Tsiakalos to meet the team’s representatives and renew the good relations and friendship. There were also interesting meetings with representatives from Qatar.

Finally, MSETT Managing Director had the chance and pleasure to meet once more the Rolands & Associates President Dr Jay Roland, Mrs Elen Roland and Mr Rick Kalinyak (the top programmer of R&A) and discuss a lot of interesting issues.

For sure, 11th NATO CAX Forum was a really productive event and MSETT wishes to thank NATO M&S CoE Director Captain (N) Vincenzo Milanoand his personnel (especially LTC Stefano Giacomozzi) for the invitation and outstanding organization and hosting.

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